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Livestock producers are being encouraged to re-consider home grown concentrates to bolster rations where silage analysis indicates low energy forage. Bolster low quality forage with home grown concentrates

• Rumen-friendly source of starch

• Cost-effective alternative energy

• Treat with appropriate inoculant

Livestock producers are being encouraged to re-consider home grown concentrates to bolster rations where silage analysis indicates low energy forage.

Wet weather this season has seen some first-cut silage taken later than originally planned, which could result in a lower energy forage. For these farms, crimp could prove a good home-grown energy alternative.

“Crimped grain can help balance the energetic value of the ration, without increasing the proportion of purchased feed required,” says Lientjie Colahan, from Lallemand’s technical support team.

Nutrient quality

“Straw left after combining can also be baled and used for feed. Because the crop is harvested earlier than dry grains, the digestibility value of the straw is marginally increased.”

When it comes to crimped grain, the way it is treated and ensiled has a big impact on its nutrient retention and quality at feed out – so this must be considered, says Mrs Colahan.

As crimp offers a rumen-friendly source of starch, it is a very safe way to lift the energy content of rations and is a particularly good option in situations where silage falls short, she adds.

“Some farmers may have made high bulk but lower energy silage. If first-cut grass silage analysis is lower in metabolisable energy than expected, crimped cereals should be considered as a cost-effective way to make up the shortfall in rations.

Crops suitable for crimping include maize, barley, wheat, oats, and triticale. Grains should be harvested at 25-40% moisture content – typically two to three weeks earlier than conventionally combining.

Due to the high moisture, all crimped cereals will need to be treated with an appropriate inoculant to reduce spoilage and nutrient loss, says Mrs Colahan.

Yeasts and moulds

“Spoilage microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds must be controlled when the crimped grain is fermenting, as well as when it is being fed out, to inhibit them from consuming the valuable nutrients preserved within the clamp.”

One biological option containing antifungal bacteria which produce powerful compounds that inhibit spoilage microorganisms is Magniva Platinum Crimp. It preserves moist grains and offers a cost-effective alternative to conventional acid treatments.”

It contains a high dose of beneficial heterofermentative bacteria to make sure they dominate the wild bacteria which would otherwise create an uncontrolled fermentation and do not necessarily inhibit the growth of spoilage organisms.

“This ensures faster preservation, while helping to avoid heating and spoilage at feed out, and when used with the correct storage conditions it can reduce wastage to almost zero,” explains Mrs Colahan.

She also emphasises the importance of good clamp management.

“Prepare the clamp properly with a ground sheet, side sheets and a top sheet that’s properly weighed down after the clamp has been sheeted. Also pay attention to vermin control throughout the season as rats are particularly drawn to this feed.”